16 Sep

Senior year serve changes prepare Dina Hegab for next step

first_imgAs Dina Hegab locked her knees, she tossed the ball to its maximum height — higher than she did before. As it descended, the ball brushed the strings of her racket. The next thing her serve hit was the net’s mesh.It was late in her doubles match against North Carolina State on March 31, and Hegab’s serve was off, but for her, that was OK. The senior wanted to try something new — a two-week-old approach to the serve that held her back all season.Throughout her final season for Syracuse, Hegab has focused on making small changes to all aspects of her serve. It started with reading and returning opponents’ serves better and transitioned to capitalizing off her own. Hegab committed to tweaks in her serve that would cut down on faults and only had one in last Friday’s win against Pittsburgh. Her new serve technique has come to fruition in her last two matches — both singles wins — for No. 31 Syracuse (12-9, 5-7 Atlantic Coast), and has created a new aspect to her game for her professional aspirations.“I’m not ready to stop playing yet, I feel like I’m still improving and have a lot of potential,” Hegab said. “I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon.”In mid-December, Hegab met in head coach Younes Limam’s office with assistant coaches Shelley George and Len Lopoo. Hegab’s last semester of eligibility neared, and as the four met to discuss what she could improve, they agreed Hegab had to “refine” her serve.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore serves, though, it started with returns. Hegab needed to line up and execute return patterns that set up her strength — the forehand.  The first matches during which that change flourished were against Michigan and Purdue in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off Weekend, Hegab said. She clinched both with three-set wins, and used her “comfort zone” to exploit Alyvia Jones and Alex Sabe’s weaknesses. The two couldn’t return Hegab’s forehand when the senior played the points properly.Now that Hegab knew how to exploit serves, she needed to play off hers. Too many times, Hegab’s toss brought her forward and disrupted her balance, resulting in serves that either missed the service box or went into the net.“Sometimes in a match … you’re not feeling your serve, and you have to fake it until you make it,” Limam said.Hegab knew that wasn’t a blueprint for long-term success. She might get away with an inconsistent serve for now, but needed to plan for tennis after SU — something she expects on pursuing, she said.Hegab began to bend her left elbow more when she tossed the ball instead. She extended her right arm further and met the ball at its highest point. The ball remained closer to her body and didn’t pull her momentum forward. With her weight held back, Hegab could follow through completely on the serve with her wrists.“It gave me the chance to control the court better in the point,” Hegab said. “And be offensive instead of defensive.”As Hegab approaches the end of her eligibility, she reached out to the coaches about the next step. She still needs to take classes next semester, but can’t play with the team, so Limam told her she could practice alongside the team next year with Lopoo volunteering to play simulated matches. Eventually, she’ll need to find tournaments to play in, Hegab said. When she does, she’ll utilize the serve she’s spent the last four months working on.“It’s just kind of fine-tuning it so she can get it back to where it needs to be,” George said.It took a combination of Limam, George and Lopoo to fix Hegab’s serve. They advised her to not finish the serve if she didn’t have a good toss because she could always reset.As Hegab served for the first set against Pittsburgh, the match Limam called her “best” since making the change, the senior swung her left arm up. Reaching its maximum height, Hegab locked her knees to follow through, but the toss was too far away for her. Two weeks ago, she would’ve still served it, anyway. Instead, she let the ball bounce in front of her. Reset.Hegab had spent the bulk of her season retooling her serve. There was no rush this time, eventually she’d get it over the net. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 10, 2019 at 11:04 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @CraneAndrewlast_img read more

30 Dec

This WILL be Arsenal’s year! Henry tells talkSPORT Gunners are set for PL glory

first_imgThierry Henry has told talkSPORT THIS is the season Arsenal will end their title drought.The Gunners have not won the Premier League since 2003/04, when Henry was in his pomp, and have finished outside of the top two for the past decade.But Henry – widely regarded as Arsenal’s greatest ever player – believes Arsene Wenger’s current squad possesses the quality, depth and X-factor needed to return to the summit of English football.Wenger’s men have won their last four league games to move up to second in the table, level on points with leaders Manchester City.And Henry, speaking to Drivetime’s Adrian Durham and Darren Gough, said: “I genuinely think it is their year.“They are getting results against big teams now and are backing up those results after big games. That is the key.“Theo Walcott playing in the middle is pushing [Olivier] Giroud, and Giroud playing in the middle when Theo isn’t playing is pushing Theo. There is healthy competition there now that you need in the game.“Mesut Ozil, as well, has finally woken up. You know what he can do. He is an amazing player, a World Cup winner, with the touch, the vision, but he wasn’t always doing it on a daily basis with Arsenal. Now he is doing it.“Then you have [Santi] Cazorla. He is the brain of the team – the way he wants to play is how the team is going to play. Then there is the X-factor you always need to have to win a title – Alexis Sanchez. He is the guy that you know, when he is in tune, it is very difficult to beat Arsenal.“The back four is also doing very well. [Hector] Bellerin is doing well, Nacho Monreal is showing why he is at Arsenal and Petr Cech is doing what he is supposed to.”Thierry Henry was speaking to talkSPORT in his role as a Sky Academy Ambassador for Sky Academy Confidence Monthlast_img read more

30 Dec

Man City and Man United face losing out to PSG in battle for Ligue 1 starlet

first_img1 Sofiane Boufal is ready to snub interest from Manchester City and Manchester United in favour of a move to Paris Saint-Germain.talkSPORT told you on Monday how the Premier League pair were eyeing up the Lille winger, who has five goals to his name this season.However, Manchester City and Manchester United now face losing out to PSG after Boufal admitted he was attracted by the French champions’ project.“Of course PSG is the type of club that you dream about, it is the only French club that could win a European trophy,” Boufal told Telefoot.“They have an absolutely magnificent project. It is a club in the top three, top four in Europe.“They want to bring in great players but also very promising players and of course it is a project that interests me.” Sofiane Boufal last_img read more